An exciting week with records including another first for Alderney ! The Serin continued singing at Barrackmaster Lane all week but is becoming elusive. A pair of Wheatear remained on Longis common all week and may be establishing a territory, our single pair of Shelduck look to be nesting somewhere in the vicinity of Longis bay. The two Ravens in the nest at Giffione are still in situ but look to be close to fledging.
15th – A slow day with a big finish ! After the staff meeting ended at 5pm there was time for some birding with Justin but a single Wheatear and 3 White Wagtails at Tourgis was our only return. Driving up Braye road towards Whitegates we spotted a large Tern heading in the direction of Longis. Pulling over we got brief views of the bird as it headed towards Longis Bay but best guess was that it was very likely the long staying Royal Tern that has been in Guernsey since early February. We hurried (just within the speed limit of course) down to the Observatory where we soon picked up the Tern again in Longis Bay. Our views confirmed that this was indeed a Royal Tern (apparently not seen in Guernsey since 10th May). A great addition to the Alderney bird list.
We ended the day at Longis reserve ringing roosting Swallows and to our surprise amongst our 23 Swallows and 1 Sand Martin were 2 Juvenile Swallows. Swallows have not been in Alderney long enough this spring for these to have bred here and be anything like this advanced fueling further speculation that Swallows are nesting during the winter moths somewhere between South Africa and the Mediterranean. The theory being that these young birds have fledged and been caught up in the migration north of the usual wintering birds returning to breeding grounds during the spring. A further surprise in our ringing nets was a bat. Justin got a photo of it and we decided to extract it after removing all the birds. Returning to the bat a few minutes later it had managed to free itself and was gone. We thought it a Pippistrelle, happy to be directed on this.
16th – First thing this morning we found a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the ringing room, after catching it we released it in the wild flower section of the Obs garden. Today whilst taking a group of tourists on a general interest tour of the island my attention was drawn to a large group of Shag feeding in a tight group just off Houmet Herbe. This group was 23 birds strong. Having heard that good numers of Mackerel are just off shore here at the moment I wondered if this was a combined effort by the birds targeting such a showel. My enjoyment of the behaviour of the Shags however was overtaken by the by the appearance over them of the Royal Tern, its attention was the same area as the Shags and I was able to watch it fishing for a few minutes whilst explaining to the tourists the significance of the bird !
17th, RAIN – All day.
18th, Cuckoo over the community woodland, 1 Yellow Wagatil Longis Common. Spotted Flycatcher, Reed and Sedge Warblers were ringed at Longis pond.
19th, Good numbers of Common Blue Butterfly, in excess of 50 on Longis Common.
20th, A Cuckoo was seen by Mark Atkinson at Rose Farm first thing and in the evening Mark also reported a Nightingale singing late into the night. Another good passage of Swallows House and Sand Martins inlcluded a mixed group in excess of 50 birds with 2 Swifts over Longis pond, these were enjoyed by the visiting Naturetrek group who also managed to see the last of the Green winged Orchids near the Odeon.
21st, Our day bagan with 22 Species of moth in the Observatory trap including our first Small elephant Hawkmoth of the year. Naturetrek had 7 Sandlerling at Platte Saline beach, Raven, Peregrine Buzzard, Kestrel, 2 Hummingbird Hawkmoths and a Holly Blue butterfly at Clonque. The group also had a cracking Green Hairstreak butterfly and Purple Broomrape at Cambridge battery. David Child reported 2 Yellow Wagtails at the airfield.